World Calligraphy Day will soon be upon us. And as its inventor, if you will, is none other than Charlie, the Managing Director of the Manuscript Pen Company, we thought we'd ask him for an update on what's been going on since we invited him down to deepest darkest Devon in October 2017. Very kindly, he obliged, and we didn't even have to bribe him with a cup of coffee this time! (As clever as email is, it's not that clever!)
Well, the first big news is that Charlie is now not only a husband but a dad as well! He got married in September 2018 and little Ella was born in in November last year. Crumble the labrador is still very much on the scene but seems fairly indifferent to the family's latest addition..!
Calligraphy is big business these days; the onset of lockdown has encouraged many, many people to take up new hobbies and learn new skills, and calligraphy is one of them. It's creative, it's relaxing and it involves such very nice products: all sorts of inks, simple-to-use calligraphy marker pens, dip pens and a host of weird and wonderful nibs!
In response, Manuscript has launched an average of 10 products per year in the last 3 years. Interest in calligraphy has spread to a younger audience, and this inspired the creation of The Lionheart Collection which features a character called Arthur, who was named after Charlie's grandfather, the former CEO of Manuscript.
Then about a year ago, Manuscript ventured into the world of brand distribution by acquiring Lime Stationery & Art, whose owner is well known (some would say notoriously so!) to us at Cult Pens. So Manuscript now supplies not only their own but many of the world's top pen brands, including Diplomat, Conklin and Visconti. So if Charlie was looking at being thrown into the deep end in terms of fountain pens, that's precisely what he got! As he puts it, 'by working closely with former Lime owner, and king of the pen geeks (Michael Owen) I have learnt a great deal about the industry. I now profess to being an avid Fountain Pen lover although I wouldn’t dare say which is my favourite brand or pen!'
So what's ahead? Well, they plan to add more brands to the distribution side as well as extending the Manuscript products in all ranges from children's to core calligraphy to gifts. Next year may see them add further to their high end fountain pen collection, the ML1856, inspired by Manuscript's long history and heritage. So, as Charlie says, 'watch this space!'